After the fall of mankind, the Exalted became the protectors of the people. As an Exalted trainee, all Mena ever wanted was to be strong, to serve and to fearlessly protect the people of the United Republic of the Saved. All Exalted feel the same. In fact, that’s all they feel. Only when Ryker, an outsider, crashes into Mena’s life, does she learn that people are meant to feel much more.
In this bleak future, set in what’s left of the southern United States, the trainees must compete in three Trials to earn their position amongst the strongest Exalted. In these Trials, female is pitted against female and male against male in demonstrations of weaponry, fighting and survival skills. The outcome: the United Ceremony, pairing trainees together for life based on how they place. The ultimate hope is to breed stronger Exalted and even better protectors.
Upon learning from Ryker that the supplement she's taken her entire life is actually an emotion-blocking drug, her path takes an unexpected shift. Without the veil of “The Pump” blocking her emotions, Mena struggles with competing in the Trials and with her new, confusing love life. She’s experiencing new feelings with not one but two different guys, will Mena choose to leave with Ryker and be free or stay with her childhood friend, Ethan, and be United?